When you think of marshmallow Peeps, what do you think of? Don't lie, everybody thinks of Peeps at one time or another. For me, I think of Easter. There are some candies that seem to be locked into a holiday, like candy corn for Halloween, candy canes for Christmas, those conversation hearts for Valentine's Day, and, of course, Peeps for Easter (besides the even more traditional chocolate bunny). Then there are the candies that make seasonal adjustments, with the most notable being M&M's, but it also appears that candy corn has also made the adjustment (although I have never seen any of the seasonal varieties myself). Peeps, and their maker Just Born, are also in on the seasonal varieties, and this year they have introduced a number of new ones, including brand-new Chocolate Mousse Flavored Marshmallow Cats.
You know, I had no idea there were so many different kinds of Peeps. I knew of yellow and pink chicks, the fluffy ones (the yellow ones are my favorite), the flat bunnies of the same color, and last year I saw white snowmen around Christmas. However, a quick pass over the Peeps official site reveals all sorts of Easter-colored bunnies, creme eggs, and tulips; hearts, bears, and vanilla creme eggs for Valentine's Day; ghosts, pumpkins, and now cats for Halloween; and snowmen, trees, and gingerbread men for Christmas. Wow! Peeps are all over the place!
Now, before I get to this new flavor for Halloween, there must be a little discussion about how to eat a Peep. There are two primary ways they are eaten, and in my estimation, one is correct and one is just wrong. The correct way is to simply rip open the package, grab one of the frightened critters by the head, ruthlessly tear it away from its family, and bite its little head off. Repeat as needed until the entire family has passed on to another realm. The other, and incorrect, fashion is also the one that my father endorses, and that is to rip the package open and then let them set for a few weeks until the marshmallow has turned hard, likely from their frightened anticipation of the end. You know… they become petrified! In all seriousness, this is just cruel and unusual punishment, not just for the frightened Peeps, but for me as well, as I just want to eat them all right up.
I saw the press release just recently and must admit to being intrigued. What would a chocolate mousse flavored marshmallow cat taste like? I had no idea, but I did want to find out. I mean, the regular Peeps are quite the tasty treat, and chocolate usually makes things taste even better, so the thought process would seem to safely lead to this being a delightful concoction.
The first thing I did was take a package to work with me. Once there I proceeded to distribute the contents of said package amongst some of my adventurous co-workers, a few of whom seemed all too eager. The only requirement to get a cat was that they email me a brief reaction to the experience. You can read their statements at the end of this column. Now, at home, it is my turn; I can almost hear them meowing to me. If you will excuse me…..
All right, I am back, and one package has all but disappeared. The first thing that struck me upon breaking the seal is the aroma. It smelled almost like a package of cocoa mix. It was light and pleasant. With the chocolaty scent in the air I proceeded to rip the plastic off the rest of the package and distribute the soft treats to my family.
I was surprised at the texture; the chocolate coating was much lighter and less grainy than what is found on regular Peeps. On top of that, the fluff part of the treat felt smoother between my fingers. You have to be careful when separating them, so as not to decapitate the poor kitties. Once I freed one from his Siamese shackles I proceeded to inelegantly bite his head off. The taste is smooth, it has a nice chocolate flavor from the powdery coating, followed by a soft fluffiness from the chocolate-flavored marshmallow. It is a light taste, not too sweet, and I think it will be very easy to consume mass quantities.
I must say I am quite pleased with this variation on tradition. It retains the characteristics that make a Peep a Peep while adding a new twist to the taste. On top of that, it is hard to resist the cat shapes, they are perfect for the season and are sure to brighten one's day.
What else can I say? I really like the chocolate cats. Crack open a package, make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, and enjoy on a brisk Autumn evening. The more you eat, the harder it will be to share them.
Now, as promised, here are the reactions of my co-workers, some more detailed than others:
Dominick Paredi: "It was really good"
Brian Olson: "Well compared to other Peep flavors and styles, I enjoyed the flavor of this Peep. The chocolate smell of the peep was very sweet and had a distinct chocolate smell.
I found that the texture of this peep was different compared to other branded peeps. I find peeps to be somewhat gritty and “taffy like,” but this peep was smooth and soft and melted rather quickly in your mouth.
The taste was great. It reminded me of the marshmallows in Count Chocula which I invite any time of the year. The coloring could have fit a more Halloween theme, as a “brown” cat does not fit the idea of a “black cat” but I don’t think that is something they can change with the nature of the peep, maybe they can dye it with a darker dye.
I enjoy it and plan to purchase some more tomorrow."
Gil Ludlow: "Sweet, Chocolaty, Fluffy Goodness with a hint of Coco flavoring. Great for Halloween and would complement a cup of Hot Cocoa very nicely."
Nancy Sarubbe: "It smelled like powder hot chocolate, [and] after eating this item, the texture was good. I did expect the granules of sugar to be a bit bigger on the outside…This is a tasty item that I would most likely purchase in the store."
Phil Foley: "A hint of hot cocoa graced my nose pleasantly as I took my first bite of this delectable confection. A flavorful and warming addition [from] the Just Born confectionery company. Perfect as a winter season companion to a cup of hot cocoa. I certainly had sincere enjoyment from this product."
Martin Davis: "Interesting taste, at first it seemed awful, but if you let it simmer in your mouth before swallowing it you got the flavor. Was interesting for a Peep. I'd possibly buy some."
Rich Halstein: "These taste like Yoo-Hoo's in candy form. They also leave a wonderful aftertaste of chocolate."